It’s that time of year again. . . Time for wearing shorts, sunscreen, and another round of podcast recommendations for those late-night summer walks.
The list below is a round-up of my True Crime favorites, but be on the lookout for my next post that will include podcasts from a few different categories.
*Trigger warning: Violence and crime-related material.
Killer Role: This is the most recent on the list from Dateline NBC. It also aired as an episode of Dateline after the last podcast episode, and I have to say I did not expect the characters to look like they did.
Mommy Doomsday: Another Dateline NBC podcast-turned-TV episode. This is a case you have likely heard of, all about murderous mom Lori Vallow. Confusing and addicting AF.
Down the Hill: the Delphi Murder: A heartbreaking listen about a double murder that seems as if it would be solved by now, with one of the teen victims capturing the man who did it on her cell phone.
Your Own Backyard: The case of Kristen Smart has been back in the news recently after police arrested their two prime suspects and even credited this amateur podcast for helping put on the pressure and bring some new information to light.
West Cork: Originally an Audible original that was free for a short time, it was taken behind a paywall and will now be free to listen to again across all podcast platforms for the rest of the year. This is a famous case from Ireland and a very interesting listen, which will feel much more like an audiobook than a podcast, especially if/when you binge all the episodes in a row.
Lost Hills: An interesting story with many twists and turns and with Malibu, California at the center.
Evil By Design: Disclaimer upfront that this is a sensitive subject area. It tells the story of sexual harassment and abuse by a Canadian fashion designer. Despite being hard to listen to in spots, I always feel the episodes gave victims a real voice in the story and that they
Case Closed – Season 3: The most recent season is about the murder of an Amish woman named Barbara Weaver. After the crime, so many secrets are exposed about her husband and others in Amish country.
The Line with Dan Taberski: To quote myself from last year’s list, “anything Dan Taberski touches is podcast gold.” This new one is quite a different project than his others, but it is a story about the complexities of war.
The Orange Tree: Several of the podcasts on this list are not professionally produced but this one here has those beat in that it is from a group of college students! I wish I was this talented in my own college days! The victim at the heart of this podcast used to attend college at this same place, the University of Texas at Austin, which gives them a unique lens through which to tell the story.
Canary: The Washington Post is behind this podcast that is about the stories of two women intertwining and intersecting in regard to sexual assault. This is a very powerful investigation about an issue that matters greatly.
Unfinished: Both seasons vary dramatically in tone but both are solid. One story about a lynching and another about a Mormon community – lots of complicated people.
Tom Brown’s Body: A teenager in Texas went missing and was found dead two years later. At one point, everyone in the small town was a suspect, even Tom’s own family members. A private investigator comes into town to try to sort things out and take us along the way.
Through the Cracks: Any podcast from NPR is usually a good one in my book. This one was no different. This first season is about a missing child named Relisha who fell between and through the cracks of various social systems and other institutions that were supposed to protect her.
Kind of, Sort of Still True Crime
Less gore, more character stories, and even a bit entertaining. . .
Date with Dateline: Hosts/BFFs Katie and Kimberly are just the best. They break down episodes of Dateline in a very hilarious way (not at all disrespectful to victims or families involved, for the record). You need not watch the TV episodes to enjoy the podcast episodes. And if you think you like the podcast after listening? Follow the show on social media for more laughs!
Smoke Screen: Fake Priest: For decades, a man moved around the Midwest pretending to be a priest. He celebrated baptisms and other sacraments alongside loving followers. Followers who eventually find out he’s also been committing white-collar crimes and other deceits along the way.
The Missionary: Not a very recent podcast, but a goodie that will really make you think. A well-meaning woman leaves the United States for rural Uganda to spread goodwill along with the healing power of God. When she gets there, is she helping people as she claims, or are her methods causing people to die?
Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen: There is not a more entertaining and addictive podcast you will listen to on this list. I already liked this podcast host from his previous work. Here, he and his team work to figure out the mystery of multiple people in Hollywood being scammed by promises of work on movie sets. The outcome will make you say hmmm. . .
Bed of Lies: A really well-told story from overseas about the intricacies and fallout of an undercover police scandal.
What are your favorite podcasts?
And that’s a wrap for the 2021 True Crime Podcast Recommendations List. Now, go search for these titles in your preferred podcast platform (Google Podcasts is what I use), pop in some earbuds, and let me know what you think!